Reinventing the Customer Relationship Improves the Journey for Current

This article was originally posted October 5, 2017 by Mark Johnson, LOYALTY360


Remember when the purpose of a cell phone was to make and receive phone calls? Today our phones manage our lives in ways we never imagined. A new division of GE, called Current, is on a similar mission to transform commercial lighting in buildings, factories and municipalities into a treasure trove of digital solutions that serve customers' evolving needs.


GE has a long legacy and strong reputation for delivering lighting solutions, dating all the way back to 1890 when Thomas Edison established Edison General Electric Company. From those early days until recent history, the GE lighting business strategy was rooted in traditional product-based selling. With the recent advent of LED technology, however, the product replacement cycle has gone from months to years, and even decades. 


"If you're building a product that's not meant to be replaced next year, but should last 7 0 to 7 5, that's a change agent." explained Bruce Stewart, CMO at Current. "Our orientation is focused on delivering outcomes for our customers through intelligent environments solutions that address energy efficiency, business productivity, safety and wellness, and customer experience."


Current uses LED lighting technology, sensors and controls, and an open platform architecture platform to offer solutions that go well beyond the traditional product-based approach to create intelligent environments.


A great example is Current's partnership with JP Morgan Chase. "Our customer was looking for a partner to help them achieve their sustainability and energy efficiency goals," says Stewart, "but they also had business productivity goals for their branches."


Current is deploying solutions in 4,500 Chase branches to help drive energy efficiency by reducing power consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as solutions most would never have imagined possible alongside a LED lighting retrofit.


"Our solution will help manage their HVAC systems, monitor and reduce water leaks and the platform has the capability to help provide data and insights that can help deliver enhanced customer experiences for banking customers," says Stewart. "We're doing all this through an LED retrofit that includes ceiling sensors and controls, plus data analytics."


Stewart challenges his teams to deliver measurable outcomes for the customer, explaining, "If you do that by the very nature of your solutions, you'll be able to continue to grow and evolve that relationship with each customer."


Technology is allowing Current to leverage both hardware and software solutions to gather data relating to climate, occupancy, motion and sound - and transform the value proposition from product to solutions services. Cloud computing capabilities combine data points and analytics to deliver insights that can reveal opportunities that customers simply didn't known before.


Our solutions show our customers things about their environment that they might not have been aware of. We help building owners look across their portfolio and optimize the energy efficiency of their HVAC and lighting systems and drive savings, while also helping reveal actual space utilization based on employee or customer traffic; Stewart explained. "Now instead of conversations that center primarily on the value of energy savings driven by LED retrofits, which is a significant savings ... we're also discussing a customer's business goals and how we can help drive business growth thru productivity solutions and deliver smart buildings and smart cities."


Current today serves customers from retail to commercial office to industrial manufacturing and logistics centers/warehouses. The "art of the possible" includes capabilities that extend to improving shipping times as well as the overall shopping experience for the end customer. 'That's the journey we're on," Stewart says, "and it's a journey we believe in. Lighting is ubiquitous so it's a natural starting point to digitize buildings. The building loT revolution is gaining momentum ... and fast."


Perhaps someday we'll be looking back to the time when lights were only for making a room brighter. It seems that day will be here sooner than we think.


Interested in learning more about JPMorgan Chase's investment in intelligent environments? Watch our information-rich webinar to explore the possibilities for your business.